Star Hobson: Babysitter who first raised concerns slams social services response before toddler’s murder

Hollie Jones lodged anonymous tip off with Bradford City Council but was told her ‘everything looks fine’

Colin Drury
Yorkshire
Wednesday 15 December 2021 08:41 GMT
( Enterprise News and Pictures )

The babysitter who first raised concerns about the mistreatment of murdered toddler Star Hobson has said her warnings were not taken seriously by authorities.

Hollie Jones lodged an anonymous tip-off with Bradford City Council over worries about Star's mother Frankie Smith and partner Savannah Brockhill.

But, despite four further referrals coming into social services over the space of just eight months, officials repeatedly concluded the child was safe.

Brockhill, 28, was found guilty of Star's murder on Tuesday while Smith, 20, was convicted of causing or allowing the toddler's death. The pair will be sentenced on Wednesday.

The tot was just 16-months-old when she died from injuries sustained in the couple’s flat in Baildon, West Yorkshire, last September.

Ms Jones, who used to look after Star while Smith went out drinking, said: "They just said that they visited [following her warning] and they had no concern, that she's safe with her mother... there's nothing more that they can do and everything looks fine.”

The 18-year-old told the BBC that the officials had "rang an hour beforehand just to tell them they were coming".

She said Smith then spent the hour "cleaning Star, covering up bruises and things like that".

And she added: "It's like ringing up a criminal an hour before and saying 'I'm coming to get you'. It just doesn't really make sense.

"I think more things need to be put in place... because parents that are abusing their children know how to cover it up."

Bradford City Council may now lose control of its children services after it emerged education secretary Nadhim Zahawi was considering appointing Whitehall officials to run the crisis-hit department.

The authority said it would not be commenting ahead of a Local Child Safeguarding Practice Review which will be published next month but issued a joint statement with the city's safeguarding agencies, saying they "deeply regret that not all the warning signs were seen".

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